Saturday, March 25, 2023  |



Team Golovkin fan flames for Miguel Cotto showdown



Although WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin has a solid top-10 contender to deal with today, the management team behind the undefeated Kazakhstani puncher is wisely looking to breathe more fire into a beef initially whipped up by Miguel Cotto’s camp.

Should things go well for Golovkin (31-0, 28 knockouts) against Martin Murray (29 -1-1, 12 KOs), the WBC’s No. 1-rated contender, at the Salles des Etoiles in Monte Carlo (telecast live on HBO in the U.S.), they just might be able to stir up something irresistible for “GGG” with that heat.

Golovkin holds the WBC’s interim title, which makes him the mandatory challenger to Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs), holder of the WBC belt as well as THE RING championship. If Cotto keeps the WBC title in a bout tentatively scheduled for June (and rumored to be against either Tim Bradley or Brandon Rios), the Puerto Rican star could be obligated to fight Golovkin.

Few notable middleweights have felt “obligated” to test themselves against Golovkin.

In Los Angeles last month, Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler was understandably miffed but cool in his honest assessment of an increasingly infuriating situation.

“I’ve had numerous discussions with Peter Nelson (HBO Sports, Vice President of Programming) over lists and lists of potential opponents,” Loeffler said. “With (Golovkin’s) TV ratings now on HBO and his ticket sales, the excuse of he doesn’t bring enough to the table, is not marketable, is not known, that’s out the window over a year ago.

“If they are not going to fight him, they are going to have to come up with some other reason, because at some point they are going to run out of opponents and the only way Gennady can really show how good he is, is to get someone that is quote unquote an A-lister.”

Cotto is an A-lister. Loeffler made a point of being very public about going out on a limb to make Cotto’s legal adviser, Gaby Penagaricano, aware that should their hoped-for showdown with Canelo Alvarez fall through (which ultimately did) Golovkin was a “perfect guy” as a replacement opponent.

However, the only time Golovkin’s name has been brought up by a member of Team Cotto was when the four-division titleholder’s trainer’s Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach told boxing writers that “Cotto will kick his ass.”

Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez responded in kind to Roach.

“Cotto doesn’t go five rounds and Freddie knows it,” stated Sanchez last year.

Sanchez was even bolder in his position last month at the Los Angeles presser for Golovkin’s fight with Murray:

“Cotto has to fight GGG if GGG wins (against Murray), but I think (Cotto will) vacate the title by saying he’s staying at 154ÔǪ Freddie’s grandstanding, trying to deflate and take away attention from that (Cotto vs. Golovkin) fight.

“Freddie says that he’s never seen Golovkin. I know he’s seen Golovkin. Freddie’s been around too long to say those things. But you folks (the media) need to make sure that when May comes along, and Cotto fights somebody and winsÔǪ you ask them why they are not doing what the WBC ordered. Gennady wants to be the best at 160ÔǪ if Cotto doesn’t want to fight him, then that’s okay. We’ll fight someone else for that belt.”

Sanchez let loose one last shot for those who would continue to disparage his fighter as untested.

“The A-listers have to be asked those questions and be put on noticeÔǪ this kid is here to stay and this kid is the best middleweight in the world. If he’s not, then prove it.”

When asked about Sanchez’s statements earlier this week at a media workout for his other fighter Zou Shiming, Roach was reluctant to go into detail with regards to Cotto or Golovkin, but he was nevertheless at pains to make it clear that the ball was firmly in Penagaricano’s and Cotto’s court.

Revealing that Penagaricano had “never brought up” Golovkin as a possible match for Cotto, Roach stated, “Gaby negotiates the fight. He gives me three namesÔǪ I just give my opinion and why I think it’s the best fight for (Cotto) at that point.”

With a textbook passive aggressive compliment to Sanchez on his HBO trainer of the year status, replete with a dig that his own house was too full already of such accoutrements, Roach returned to the ripe field of Golovkin’s previous opponents.

“I don’t fear GGG but I don’t have to fight him,” Roach said. “I think it could be a very competitive fight. I think he hasn’t fought anybody. These names he’s been fighting, they’re not that good – let’s face it.”

Roach wouldn’t answer whether he believed Cotto would vacate his title in lieu of fighting Gennady with a terse, “I don’t know. You have to ask Gaby.”

But he made a point of praising Gennady’s skills – albeit with an important caveat: “(Golovkin’s) ring generalship is very good. I like that. I’m not sure if he got that from working with Abel or the amateurs. He impressed meÔǪbut my fighter knows a lot of stuff. I learned from the great Eddie Futch. The guys like that are gone,” finished Roach, relaying the clear implication that if Golovkin is no Cotto, Sanchez is no Roach.

In the end, Golovkin, managing as always to keep his head well above the fray, stated the obvious in the best fashion.

“I respect Freddie. I respect my coachÔǪ I know my situation. I am interim champion. He (Cotto) is the champion. That’s it. (2014) was not bad, but this year is better.”

Indeed, no matter how it all ultimately shakes down, the future does appear to be bright and full of action for Golovkin and the middleweight division.